Hope is our reward.
Shane Lopez, in his book, "Make Hope Happen", shares his discovery that the quality of our life in the present depends upon the quality of our relationship with the unknown future; Why improve our relationship with the unknown future?...
...To reap the possibilities; our capacity today to serve others, to make a difference in the world, is directly related to the relationship we develop with the unknown future. While we are prone to desperately seek certainty in an uncertain future, those who develop confidence and hope for the unknown are best served and thus best equipped to serve others.
Apparently, we are uniquely built for the challenges of life, in fact it is the very challenges in our lives that make our individual lives so amazing. Who wants to read a novel that has one boring chapter after another; do we not enjoy more the book that has many unexpected twists and turns?
Several years ago I read Daniel Gilberts book, "Stumbling on Happiness" where he shares that we are most rewarded when we take on really big challenges. His research reveals that the bigger the task, the bigger the reward; within us we have what he refers to as a psychological immune system that takes whatever large audacious task we embark upon, and no matter the outcome, we are lifted up in a multitude of ways, elevating our confidence, courage, tenacity and fortitude. Gilberts' research finds that it is more the little irritants in life that do not engage this immune system that cause us to have feelings of unhappiness - maybe this is why a gratitude list for the simpler things can help push those smaller irritants from our mind - focusing us more on the journey rather than the pebbles in our path. Apparently we are best served to choose the steeper slope; uniquely rewarded for choosing the most difficult path we can find. This aligns with the insight M. Scott Peck shares in his book, "The Road Less Traveled", where the opening three words are, "Life is difficult". He goes on to say that the moment we embrace this fact, life becomes easier. It's in the resistance to what is that makes us suffer most.
How much more rewarding and effective do we become when we recognize that life is suppose to be difficult and that our best response to it is, "Awesome, thank you, give me some more!" Do we not come to know ourselves more when we are challenged?
Robert Byrne said, "The purpose of life is a life of purpose". It seems the obstacles we face best uncover our unique gifts to live a more purpose driven life. This past weekend at church, I heard again an old scripture that really clicked for me when considered in the context of Shane Lopez's insight on hope. Romans 5:4 reads: "...and endurance produces character and character produces hope".
Instead of fearing what lies around the corner, consider getting excited for those character building experiences; knowing that you have within you what it takes to make it, to make you into a person more capable of taking it.
Socrates said, "The unexamined life is not worth living". It seems that our challenges, our difficulties, our obstacles are the best path for us to know ourselves - and the reward is HOPE!
2016 was far and away the most difficult and also one of the most rewarding years of my life. Having come through such a difficult time, my hope for the future has grown exponentially. I am so grateful for the experience and the more authentic connection to myself and others. And as a result, I have so much more hope for the future.
Grateful for 2016 and all that it has brought us. May we all be more grateful and hopeful for 2017.
Life itself is a character building experience; welcome life, learning, growing and knowing that life becomes even brighter when we are excited for what it will bring.
I hope you are filled with hope for this new year and beyond.
Make it a great week!
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